Europe This Week: March 10, 2021

March 10, 2021

Your weekly roundup of news and analysis of elections in Europe, usually posted on Wednesdays and occasionally updated throughout the week. For a full electoral calendar and interactive map, click here.

A street in Amsterdam. The Netherlands holds Europe’s first parliamentary elections of the year next Wednesday, March 17. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Jorge Royan (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Upcoming Europe Elections

Germany, Baden-Wûrttemburg and Rhineland-Palatinate State Elections (plus local elections in Hesse): March 14, 2021

Germany is due to hold several sets of elections next year, culminating in the September 26, 2021 federal parliamentary elections that will determine who succeeds Angela Merkel as chancellor. Additionally, five states hold elections.  The year 2021 is thus a “Superwahljahr” (Super election year) in Germany. More

Paul Carrel and Andreas Rinke, Reuters (March 10, 2021): Germany’s Laschet faces key electoral test on road to chancellery

Imanuel Marcus, Berlin Spectator (March 10, 2021): Germany: Tight Election Race in Rheinland-Palatinate

DW (March 10, 2021): Germany’s far-right AfD lawmakers visit Moscow

Carsten Brzeski, ING (March 8, 2021): Germany: Super election year set to start

Loveday Morris, Washington Post (March 8, 2021): German mask profiteering scandal rocks Merkel’s party as elections loom

Erika Solomon, Financial Times (March 7, 2021): German Greens hope regional win will bolster claim to national power

The Economist (March 6, 2021): How Germany’s Greens conquered the industrial heartland

Netherlands Parliamentary Elections: March 17, 2021

Netherlands is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections on March 17, 2020.While Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who leads a center-right coalition, has been under fire from other political parties, including members of his own coalition, he enjoys high approval ratings from Dutch voters, including for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. More

AFP (March 9, 2021): Coronavirus set to dominate Dutch elections

Simon Kuper, Financial Times (March 9, 2021): Lessons from the Netherlands on staying in power

AFP (March 9, 2021): Dutch Green leader Klaver eyes coalition role

Mike Corder, AP (March 8, 2021): Dutch prime minister extends his country’s pandemic lockdown

Joost de Vries, The Guardian (March 4, 2021): How Covid derailed the great hope of the Dutch far right

Bulgaria Parliamentary Elections: April 4, 2021 and Presidential Election: October/November 2021 (due)

Bulgaria holds parliamentary elections on April 4, 2021. The country has been in a long stretch of chaotic politics characterized by a series of early elections and caretaker governments, and a number of problems remain. Corruption and scandals have plagued the country since the 1990s. In that vein, the country is currently embroiled in anti-government protests, some violent, which have been going on since July. More

Georgi Gotev, Euractiv (March 10, 2021): Watchdog warns of ‘dire press situation’ ahead of Bulgarian elections

Svetoslav Todorov, Balkan Insight (March 8, 2021): Bulgaria’s Fragmented Opposition Hopes to Ride Wave of Discontent

RFE/RL (March 5, 2021): Senators Warn U.S.-Bulgarian Relationship Faces ‘Serious Challenges’ As Sofia Prepares For Elections

Greenland Snap Parliamentary Elections: April 6, 2021

Greenland will hold snap parliamentary elections on April 6, 2021 after the government coalition fractured following disagreements over a mining project. Greenland remains part of Denmark but has autonomy over domestic policy, although there is growing support for eventual independenceMore

Sam Dunning, Foreign Policy (March 10, 2021): 56,000 Greenlanders Could Shape the Future of Rare Earths

Albania Parliamentary Elections: April 25, 2021

Albania plans to hold parliamentary elections on April 25, 2021. Since communism collapsed in 1990, Albania has held competitive elections and several transitions of power between political parties. However, the country is currently in the middle of a tense political standoff between the governing Socialist Party and the main opposition center-right Democratic Party. More

Svetoslav Todorov and Fjori Sinoruka, Balkan Insight (March 9, 2021): Pandemic Puts Doctors in Political Spotlight at Bulgaria, Albania Polls

Llazar Semini, AP (March 8, 2021): Facebook calls on Albanian parties to be transparent in ads

Fjori Sinoruka, Balkan Insight (March 5, 2021): Albanian PM Sparks Outrage, Saying COVID-19 Patients Can’t Vote

Spain, Snap Regional Elections in Madrid: May 4, 2021

Madrid will hold early regional elections on May 4, following the collapse of the government coalition consisting of the conservative Popular Party and the liberal Citizens Party.

Matthew Holroyd, Euronews (March 10, 2021): Madrid set for early elections after regional government collapses 

Joseph Wilson, AP (March 10, 2021): Madrid’s anti-lockdown champion shaken after gov’t collapse

United Kingdom Local Elections (including Mayor of London and Scottish and Welsh parliaments): May 6, 2021

The United Kingdom (UK) will hold local elections on May 6, 2021. Voters will elect various local councils, plus the mayor of London, plus Scottish and Welsh parliaments. The Scottish elections are particularly high-stakes because if the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) wins a majority, they will pressure the government in Westminster to allow another referendum on independenceMore

Conor Matchett, The Scotsman (March 9, 2021): New Scottish ‘independence first’ party reveals candidates for Holyrood elections

Azeem Ibrahim, Foreign Policy (March 8, 2021): Scottish Independence Is a Security Problem for the United States

Croatia Local Elections: May 16, 2021

Croatia has scheduled local elections for May 16, 2021. More

Anja Vladisavljevic, Balkan Insight (March 5, 2021): Death of Veteran Mayor Injects New Uncertainty into Zagreb Election

France Regional Elections: June 13, 2021 and Presidential Election: April 2022 (due) 

France holds regional elections on June 13, 2021, with a second round on June 20. These come ahead of next year’s presidential and legislative elections, where President Emmanuel Macron potentially faces a formidable challenge from the far-right. More

Pauline Graulle, Jacobin (March 6, 2021): France’s Divided Left Is Struggling to Challenge the Macron–Le Pen Duopoly

Roger Cohen, New York Times (March 5, 2021): Eyeing Re-election, Macron Walks a Tightrope Above Swirling Crises in France

Victor Mallet, Financial Times (March 4, 2021): France embroiled in culture wars as election season nears

Finland Local Elections: June 13, 2021 (postponed from April)

Finland is holding municipal elections on June 13, 2021, delayed from April due to COVID-19. Following the 2019 parliamentary elections, a left-leaning coalition came into government nationally. More

Svilena Iotkovska, (March 8, 2021): Finnish municipal elections will be postponed until 13 June

Kati Pohjanpalo, Bloomberg (March 4, 2021): Finland to Vaccinate Poll Workers Ahead of Local Elections

Italy, Mayoral Elections in Rome, Milan, Turin, Naples and other cities and regional elections in Calabria: Between September 15 and October 15, 2021

Mario Calvo-Platero, The Hill (March 8, 2021): Under Draghi’s lead, Italy takes Europe another step away from populism

Federico Santi, GZERO (March 5, 2021): Has Italy’s far right really changed its tune?

Reuters (March 4, 2021): Italy postpones mayoral and regional votes due to COVID-19: sources

Giovanni de Ghantuz Cubbe, LSE’s EUROPP (March 4, 2021): Explaining Matteo Salvini’s support for the new Italian government

Estonia Municipal Elections: October 17, 2021

Estonia – a poster child for a successful post-communist transition to democracy – will hold municipal elections on October 17, 2021. More

ERR News (March 9, 2021): Electoral office preparing for autumn’s elections, e-voting likely a boon

Hungary Parliamentary Elections: By Spring 2022 (or earlier)

Hungary is due to hold parliamentary elections by Spring 2022, although snap elections are possible. Prime Minster Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party has become increasingly authoritarian, to the concern of many both in Hungary and in the international community.

Rob Schmitz, NPR (March 8, 2021): As Hungary Cuts Radio Station, Critics Say Europe Should Put Orban On Notice

R. Daniel Kelemen, Washington Post (March 7, 2021): Viktor Orban turned Hungary away from democracy. Now his European allies are turning on him.

Orlando Crowcroft, Euronews (March 5, 2021): Hungary has survived war, isolation and foreign occupation. Can it survive Viktor Orban? 

Sweden Parliamentary Elections: September 11, 2022

Pekka Vanttinen, Euractiv (March 8, 2021): Three Swedish parties fight for parliamentary existence ahead of election

Richard Orange, The Local (March 8, 2021): EXPLAINED: What does the Liberals’ switching of sides mean for Sweden’s next election?

Rafaela Lindberg, Bloomberg (March 5, 2021): Sweden Liberals to Withdraw Backing for Premier after 2022 Vote

Past Europe Elections

Kosovo Snap Parliamentary Elections: February 14, 2021

Kosovo held snap parliamentary elections on February 14. The left-wing nationalist Vetëvendosje won, potentially jeopardizing any resolution to a long-standing territorial dispute with Serbia.

RFE/RL (March 9, 2021): Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Steps Down After Election Graft Allegations

Andrew Higgins, New York Times (March 6, 2021): In a Land Dominated by Ex-Rebels, Kosovo Women Find Power at the Ballot Box

Lithuania Parliamentary Elections: October 11, 2020 and October 25, 2020

Lithuania held parliamentary elections in October 2020. A center-right coalition led by Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS–LKD) defeated the incumbent populist Farmers and Greens. Following the elections, a coalition of four parties – all led by women – formed a government, with Ingrida Šimonytė as the country’s first female prime minister.

Transitions (March 5, 2021): Lithuania Refuses to Extradite Belarusian Opposition Leader

Shannon Tiezzi, The Diplomat (March 4, 2021): Lithuania’s Outreach to Taiwan Is Another Blow to China’s Europe Diplomacy

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